[Tribune] Influencer Marketing: How Can Marketers Address Brand Integrity Concerns? – Watch & Tribune > Brands

With 75% of the world’s population over the age of 13 using social media, it is now widely accepted that influencer marketing is a great tool for brands to connect with their audience authentically. However, allowing an influencer to speak on behalf of the brand is not without risks.

The growth of social media influencers has gone almost simultaneously with other scandals and controversies that have unfortunately tarnished the sector. While collaborating with influencers can be an obvious way to shape a brand’s reputation online, and thus increase brand awareness, engagement, and sales, partnering with the wrong creator can damage your image. According to recent data, this issue is number one in the minds of most marketers, with 76% acknowledging brand integrity as a concern in influencer marketing.

While major accidents are still rare, brands must exercise due diligence and selectivity when partnering with an influencer. Here are two main considerations that marketers should follow to ensure that their influencer marketing strategies do not spoil.

1. The influencer’s previous digital lives matter!

It is common for consumers to demand a boycott of purchases from a favorite brand that promotes (even indirectly) hate speech, malware, illegal content, or other propaganda and terrorism. So it is clear that brands cannot take the slightest risk by being associated with any influencer that posts controversial content online.

With brand integrity being a concern of a large majority of marketers, most of them will stay away from well-known, controversial influencers. However, the danger often lies with influencers who appear to be reputable on the surface but whose bodies are in the digital vault buried in their social media feeds.

Everything that is posted on the Internet exists forever and can reappear at any time, sometimes years after publication. This is true for everyone, but the effects can be more significant for influencers and the brands associated with them, for example, questioning the validity of these influencers or even ending a collaboration.

It shows that the audience cares about what online influencers say and cares about, regardless of the time. Any social media collaboration between a brand and an influencer is a positive for both parties, but if marketers don’t do their due diligence before agreeing to a collaboration to evaluate the influencer’s content, it’s very likely they will let someone else do it for them and let it fall. on them. The process of identifying influencer profiles by evaluating the style of their content, searching for any “digital pots,” checking past collaborations with other brands, and researching them in the press is key to ensuring successful partnerships.

2. Ethics of Influencers Vs. popularity

The values ​​of authenticity and transparency have never been more important to consumers. Therefore, it is imperative for brands to partner with real influencers, to go beyond the metrics that highlight their popularity online. Bien que le nombre de followers et les taux d’engagement – tels que les likes, les commentaires et les parts – soient importants, il est crucial de comprendre dans quelle mesure l’éthique d’un influenceur s’aligne sur les valeurs d’ trade mark.

At a time when it is difficult to retain customers amid an unfavorable economic outlook and increased consumer caution about spending, marketers need to ensure that content creators who partner with their colleagues will become true advocates for their brand and attract the loyalty of their audience.

As the influencer market has matured, technology has grown to the point where marketers can access a wide range of information that can help them identify influencers who will communicate authentically with an audience, and avoid those who will have questionable behaviors.

They can, for example, review an influencer’s profile for any previously posted controversial posts that could be considered toxic, negative, abusive, overly political, or linked to adult content. Depending on what the brands stand for, marketers can also pay attention to content related to religion, alcohol, or even jokes that might be misinterpreted by the target audience.

By sticking to their brand values ​​and utilizing the right set of tools, marketers can determine if an influencer is a good fit to represent a particular brand before deciding to work with them, ensuring that their profile will resonate with the brand’s audience.

Therefore, when deciding which influencer would be the best partner, it is important to always remember to look beyond the surface level. First impressions are very important, but to make informed judgments that will benefit and reflect the brand’s goals and values ​​in the future, it is important to dig deeper before introducing the influencer as a brand representative.

Tribune by Alexander Frolov, co-founder and CEO of HypeAuditor

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